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DIY Remote Control Hovercraft August 12, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, DIY, hovercraft, Science and Technology.
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I became interesting in building a remote control vehicle when I purchased a remote control robot as an example tool for my high school robotics class.  (I teach Robotics and Automation among other things.)  I have a Netduino board available to use a control feature but I decided this time to salvage a few radio control toys to get the servos and receivers and remotes already built.  Radio Shack had a clearance on remote control cars and so I spent $20 and got four of them.

Step I: Design and Planning:  This is NOT my favorite phase.  I looked around the Internet for ideas to steal…er I mean…inspire me and came up with the following:
a.  The chassis should be constructed of Styrofoam.  It is relatively easy to work with (yeah right) and light-weight so it should not require a huge amount of power to achieve lift.  The chassis should be basically vehicle shaped.  I am not saying exactly WHAT vehicle it is shaped like but hey…its the first thing I ever sculpted so give me a break.  I glued 4 large pieces of Styrofoam (about 18″ x 24″) into a block and then used a combination of hot wire and serrated knife to sculpt the general shape.  I used an ordinary power sander to smooth things up a bit.  It could look better I know but I suspect this will work.

b. The lift motor should be a 5″ computer fan that I had laying around.  It is 6 volts and 380 mA and runs at about 2000 rpm.  I think it will provide enough lift to get the vehicle up and floating.

c. The skirt will be made of green garbage bags cut and hot glued into a relatively air holding skirt.  I have not begun this phase of construction yet and so it is open to debate.  (Anyone have any suggestions?)

d. The directional control will be provided by one or possibly two 7v DC hobby motors mounted on the steering servos of my salvaged remote control cars.  The DC motors provide the push and the servos listen to the remote and rotate the motors to provide steering.  The motors are not heavy and neither are the servos.  I should have plenty of power in the lift fan to support the chassis, motors, servos, receivers, skirt, and assorted wiring.  If not I can always find a bigger fan or motor to lift with.

Today I shaped the chassis and carved a place for the motor.  Pictures below are of what I have so far.  Please feel free to comment constructively (Telling me what a terrible sculptor I am is NOT constructive) and offer suggestions.

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